How to Blow Up Your Raw Bench Press: Principles & Variations

If you’re looking to take your bench press game to the next level, this is the right place for you. We’ll cover some key principles and variations that will help you maximize your potential in this lift. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, understanding proper technique and positioning can make a world of difference in your performance. So let’s dive into the details of how to master the art of raw bench press! But first, let’s establish a solid foundation by discussing the importance of technique and positioning.

In the following chapters, we’ll delve deeper into different aspects such as programming and sample variations specifically tailored for improving your raw bench press. We’ll also address common questions and concerns through our FAQ section. Lastly, we’ll conclude with some final thoughts on maximizing your gains in this lift.

So without any further delay, let’s get started with mastering proper technique and positioning for a better raw bench press!

Technique & Positioning

When it comes to maximizing your raw bench press performance, proper technique and positioning are essential. Each aspect plays a crucial role in optimizing muscle activation and ensuring maximal strength gains.

1. Bench Press Form: The foundation of a successful bench press starts with solid form. To execute the lift correctly, lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor, back arched slightly, and shoulder blades retracted. Grip the barbell just outside shoulder width, wrists straight, and elbows tucked at an approximate 45-degree angle to the torso. Remember to maintain a tight grip throughout the movement.

2. Muscle Activation: Engaging the right muscles is key for increasing your bench press strength. In particular, focus on activating your chest (pectoral muscles), shoulders (deltoids), and triceps during the press phase. This can be achieved by consciously flexing these muscles before and during each repetition.

3. Leg Drive & Foot Placement: Utilizing leg drive helps generate additional power during the bench press by creating a stable base. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, around shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Push through your heels as you lift, driving upward force through your legs to assist in lifting heavier weights.

By emphasizing correct technique, targeted muscle activation, and utilizing leg drive effectively, you can enhance your raw bench press performance significantly. Incorporating these principles into your training regimen will help you build a solid foundation for increasing both strength and overall athleticism. Now that we’ve covered technique and positioning let’s dive into programming strategies for optimal progress.


Programming for the bench press is crucial to maximize strength and performance gains. By strategically planning your training program, you can ensure that your bench press muscles are properly stimulated, targeted, and developed.

Progressive Overload: A key principle of bench press programming is progressive overload. This involves gradually increasing the intensity, volume, or frequency of your workouts over time. Progressive overload can be achieved by adding weight to the bar, increasing the number of reps or sets, or reducing rest time between sets.

Periodization: To optimize long-term progress and prevent plateaus, consider incorporating periodization into your training program. Periodization involves dividing your training into different phases, each with a specific focus and goal. For example, you could have a hypertrophy phase aimed at building muscle mass followed by a strength phase focused on lifting heavier weights.

Accessory Exercises: In addition to the bench press itself, include accessory exercises that target complementary muscles. This will promote overall strength and stability during the bench press movement. Some effective accessory exercises include push-ups, dumbbell presses, tricep dips, and shoulder presses.

A well-planned training program will address all aspects of bench press development: strength, muscular endurance, technique refinement, and muscle hypertrophy. It’s important to consult with a qualified coach or trainer to create a personalized programming strategy that aligns with your individual goals and abilities.

Sample Variations

To further improve your raw bench press, incorporating different variations into your training can be highly effective. These variations target specific muscles, challenge your body in new ways, and prevent plateaus. Here are some sample variations to consider:

  1. Close Grip Bench Press: This variation involves placing your hands closer together than in a traditional bench press. It places emphasis on your triceps and can help increase lockout strength.
  2. Incline Bench Press: Performing the bench press on an incline engages your upper chest muscles to a greater extent. It helps develop well-rounded upper body strength.
  3. Pause Bench Press: In this variation, you pause momentarily at the bottom of the lift before pressing the weight back up. It enhances explosive power, improves stability, and enhances control over the barbell.
  4. Dumbbell Bench Press: Using dumbbells instead of a barbell requires greater stabilization from your muscles and helps address any muscle imbalances between arms.
  5. Floor Press: The floor press limits your range of motion by performing the lift with your elbows resting on the floor. It helps target triceps strength and improves lockout power.

By incorporating these sample variations into your training routine, you can effectively target different muscle groups, enhance overall strength, and break through plateaus in your raw bench press journey.

Training Post-Meet: Embracing Your Off-Season

After completing a grueling world-class competition, it’s absolutely essential to provide your bench press muscles the rest they truly deserve. The chest, shoulders, and triceps—the main players in the bench press—have likely experienced exhaustion and fatigue from the intense event. By taking some time off from heavy lifting, these muscles can rejuvenate and repair any tiny tears that may have arisen.

During the offseason, directing your energy towards stretching and toning your bench press muscles is a wise decision. Including exercises that specifically target these muscle groups will keep them active and invigorated, thereby enhancing their growth while preventing any imbalances.

Alongside stretching and toning efforts, devoting attention to overall strength and conditioning proves highly advantageous during the offseason. It lays a solid groundwork for future training cycles, propelling you further on your journey towards mastering the bench press. Employ techniques such as progressive overload—gradually increasing weight or workout intensity over time—in order to continually make progress.

Importantly, pay heed to your body’s signals during this period of recovery and grant yourself sufficient time for recuperation between workouts. Embracing your offseason plays a pivotal role in sustaining long-term advancement with your bench press training. Seize this opportunity wisely to nurture not just physical vigor but also mental toughness as an athlete.


What is the raw bench press?

The raw bench press refers to performing the bench press lift without the use of any supportive equipment, such as bench shirts or wrist wraps.

Why is technique important in the bench press?

Proper technique in the bench press is important for both maximizing strength and minimizing the risk of injury. It allows you to engage the correct muscle groups, maintain stability, and generate power efficiently.

How should I position myself during the bench press?

When performing the bench press, you should lie flat on the bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Your grip width should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your elbows should be slightly tucked in. Maintain a strong arch in your lower back and keep your shoulder blades retracted throughout the lift.

What is programming in relation to bench press training?

Programming refers to the planning and organization of your bench press training sessions. This includes determining the volume and intensity of your lifts, as well as the frequency and rest periods between sessions. A well-designed program helps optimize progress and prevent overtraining.

What are some sample variations of the bench press?

Some sample variations of the bench press include the close grip bench press, pause bench press, incline bench press, and floor press. These variations target different muscle groups and can help break through plateaus and improve strength and muscle development.

How should I approach training post-meet?

After a powerlifting meet, it is important to embrace your off-season and focus on recovery and addressing any weaknesses. This may involve reducing the intensity and volume of your training, incorporating other exercises or training modalities, and setting new goals for future meets.

How can I safely train through pain and injuries in the bench press?

If you are experiencing pain or injuries in the bench press, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or qualified coach. They can assess your condition and provide appropriate modifications or exercises to help you train safely and promote healing. Ignoring or pushing through pain can worsen the injury and hinder your progress.

What are the benefits of including a FAQ section in this article?

Including a FAQ section in this article allows readers to quickly find answers to common questions they may have about the raw bench press, technique, programming, variations, post-meet training, and training through pain and injuries. It provides a comprehensive resource and enhances the overall user experience.


In conclusion, blowing up your raw bench press requires a combination of proper technique, programming, and variation. By focusing on the principles outlined in this article and incorporating different techniques to target specific muscles, you can make significant progress in your bench press strength.

It’s important to remember that building strength takes time and consistency. Be patient with yourself and trust the process. Start with a strong foundation by mastering the basic bench press technique and positioning. From there, design a programming plan that includes progressive overload and allows for adequate recovery.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of the bench press to emphasize different muscle groups. This will help prevent plateaus and keep your training exciting.

Lastly, always prioritize safety and listen to your body. If you experience pain or injuries during training, seek professional guidance and make modifications as needed. Remember that fitness is a lifelong journey, so take care of yourself both inside and outside the gym.

With dedication, hard work, and smart training strategies, you can push past your limits and achieve new levels of strength in your raw bench press journey. Keep pushing yourself, stay consistent, and enjoy the process!